One is not enough…

Okay, I have an addiction…to notebooks. I was in the works today, harmlessly browsing, not expecting to come across something, when I landed on these beauties in The Works for £2.99 each.

I couldn’t say no. There was about twenty others there that I wanted, but I acted responsibly and only bought two, and this book which was £1.99 reduced from £7.99 and seemed an awesome purchase, especially since I had only just stocked up on Post-It Notes. Basically, it’s a book on ingenious, creative, practical and simply preposterous ways of using Post-It Notes! And yes, I did copy that from the front of the book.

I have collected some right stunners over the years.

And they gradually become a part of me.

Some of them have been gifts, a few were bought from Camden Town, I even managed to get one cheap-ish in a sale in Waterstones, and I know that’s quite unheard of. One I bought in Copenhagen, which to this day remains to be one of my favourites. It’s so simple yet gorgeous and wonderful to write in and hold.

Of course, a lot of them have come from the quite reliable TK MAXX. I am a big fan of that shop. The one I’m using now for my Great Northern Trip is plain but I love it. and that one was 99p from Boyes. (Boyes, ahhh, I remember buying everything from there back in the day. One of my most extravagant purchases was a Friends Stationary Set for a massive £4.99.) Note books play an enormous role in my life as a writer. I don’t know how it is with other writers at the moment, what with all this new technology stealing the limelight away from the simple book and pen, but I am really curious to find out.

A notebook for me is the most important thing to carry around with me. (I can walk home or cope with a dry throat or hungry belly.) Ideas can spring on me wherever I am. Often, I’ll need to vault from the bathroom in a towel to my bedroom, leaving the water running, so that I can jot something down.

Having a notebook is often the greatest relief and there is little that can compete with the joy and excitement of scribbling down a new idea, or the last line of a poem or a snatch of dialogue for a character in a novel. A new notebook is like new territory. You can write anything. The blank pages are just waiting for you to make squiggly black lines. There have been many occasions when either my notebook has become full or I have forgotten it and I’ve needed to scribble on the backs of envelopes, bank statements even tiny receipts. In my journal I tend to write neat, but in my notebooks…well, my writing starts off well behaved but before long there is a mesh of words, arrows, bubbles and whatever else strewn across the pages. And I love it.

Last night I watched a fabulous little programme on iPlayer called The Secrets of Scott’s Hut. The lovable yet slightly irritating Ben Fogle gets the opportunity to visit the hut of the legendary Captain Scott in Antarctica, and be involved in the process of preserving the hut and all of its 10,000 artefacts.

The programme was a fascinating insight into the tight little life Scott and his team made for themselves inside four walls, and the colossal white world that lay beyond the door. It made for interesting watching too, because the elements of Scott as a family man, a leader, an explorer and a photographer were all examined and laid out for us to make our own decision as to whether this extraordinary man was a failure or a champion.

I have recently been commissioned to write a chapter in a book about how therapeutic writing can help to heal. I’m really, really excited about this, because, as I’ve said many, many times before, writing has always helped me through the hardest times of my life. I’m also currently working on three poems about travel, for a performance at an event called Home and Away in May.